Three time modes for AVs of the future…New approach to vehicle retail sales…Fast money still chasing automotive collectibles + more…

Drivers of the future, or rather ‘drivers’ of AVs, will be able to adjust the vehicle’s cabin for either quality time, productive time and time for regeneration, claim researchers working on the 25th Hour project, a joint venture involving Audi and the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering.

The project is attempting to predict how people will spend their time in autonomous vehicles and how manufacturers can best tailor their cabins to meet demand.

Using tools such as an ‘intelligent human-machine interface’, the research team began by analyzing how people currently use the infotainment system and from this tried to predict how the system is likely to be used in the future.

Following consultation with experts in fields such as psychology and anthropology, the team identified quality time, productive time and time for regeneration as the ‘three time modes’ it thinks will be required in an AV.

Fraunhofer Institute then used a specially developed driving simulator to try and come up with how a self-driving cabin might look for each of these modes. The simulator incorporated an adaptive steering wheel-free cabin with dimming windows, changeable ambient lighting and the ability to simulate background noise.

Large projectors were used to make it feel like the vehicle was driving through a city at night. A group of Gen-Y volunteers were hooked up to an EEG for brain monitoring and asked to perform a range of tasks that required concentration.

Brain activity, errors and subjective impressions were all taken into consideration and not surprisingly, subjects were most relaxed in a disturbance-free environment, with dimmed windows, gentle lighting and a minimum of interruption from the on-board infotainment.

Brain activity shot up when the test participants were bombarded with advertisements and notifications from mobile phones. According to Melanie Goldmann, head of culture and trends communication at Audi, in a digital future, there are no limits to what can be imagined.

“We could offer everything in the car, really overwhelm the user with information, but we want to put people at the center of attention. The car should become a smart membrane with the right information reaching the user at the right time.”       Source: Audi

New approach to vehicle retail sales

Like to get to know all about a new car without being constantly pressured by sales staff? Then a good place to start could be the Westfield shopping mall in Geelong where Kings Cars Mitsubishi has just opened an interactive vehicle concept showroom.

The new pilot store provides, what the company claim, is a level of transparency and an environment that enables customers to get the information they need without the pressure created by the traditional automotive retail site.

Customers can research the full range of Mitsubishi vehicles using an interactive vehicle showroom that includes a virtual reality test drive. There’s also the option of the real thing using vehicles parked nearby and existing owners can have their vehicles maintained and serviced while they shop at the mall.

Joining owners Peter and Angela King at the opening of the new showroom, Mitsubishi Motors Australia’s John Signoriello (left) praised what he said was exciting new direction that offered the opportunity to explore new ways of interacting with customers.

“This pilot store will allow us to take the Mitsubishi brand to the people and give us access to a wider more diverse audience in a more relaxed retail environment. We aim to incorporate and test new technology, studying new operational models and use this experience to develop our existing and future network to better serve our customers.”

According to Peter King, he did not want to recreate a dealership experience in a shopping centre. “We wanted to hand the reigns to the customer, to give them the control to research, browse, test drive and even service their car in an environment that fits their needs. Our showroom facilitators are not paid on commission, they are simply there to help.”

Fast money still chasing automotive collectibles

The economy may be slowing faster than a Lada going up a hill, but the money available at collectible automotive auctions seems to be as fast as ever. All of which meant that enthusiasts were in a spending mood at Shannon winter auction held recently in Melbourne. Australian muscle cars were particularly popular with most selling at, or above, pre-auction estimates.

But as in Sydney a few months ago, it was black and white heritage number plates that really got the dollars flying with the 12 plates selling for a combined $800,000. Five three-digit plates comfortably exceeded previous auction prices, with ‘203’ at $170,000, ‘586’ ($116,000), ‘439’ ($114,000), ‘960’ ($98,000), ‘731’ ($83,000).

This nicely restored 1976 Ford XB GT coupe raked in $134,000, whilst a four-owner 1973 Ford XA Fairmont GS sedan, equipped with a K-Code 351 V8 mated to an automatic transmission and a nine-inch differential, was knocked down at $63,000.

A spare $120,000 would have seen this stunning 1959 Cadillac Series 62 convertible on its way to your garage. One of the auction’s cover cars, a rotisserie-restored 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 coupe finished in Daytona Yellow with contrasting black stripes brought $101,000, a 1972 LJ Torana XU-1 ($102,000), 1969 Holden coupe, upgraded with a 350 V8 and auto transmission ($64,000), 1980 HDT VC Commodore 5.0 V8 sedan Sedan ($52,000), Mopar muscle car Chrysler VH Valiant Charger XL ($37,000).

Two classic Indian motorcycles topped the two-wheeler sales, with a circa-1919 Indian Power Plus 1000cc V-Twin Solo, with white wall tyres selling for $50,000, whilst a mechanically-refurbished 1948 Indian Chief 1200 made $35,000.

1959 Jensen 541R Coupe with good history sold for $95,000.


Customisable terminal a win for lost truckers and ‘shopping trolly’ drivers

In the last twelve months have you ever been stuck behind a lost, or immobile, truck driver. If so, you’re not the only one. In fact, you’re just one of a number that makes up more than 21% of motorist to have suffered the same fate.*

But cheer up such incidents could soon be a thing of the past if the trucking industry takes up the new PRO8275 Truck from TomTom that amongst a heap of other things provides dedicated routes for trucks based on dimensions, weight, hazardous cargo and max speed.

This enables drivers to avoid bridges, small streets, sharp turns, U-turns and restricted roads, etc, ensuring a smoother journey that helps keep drivers and cargo safe by avoiding potentially risky routes.

According to the company, when combined with TomTom Traffic that helps predict and avoid traffic on both motorways and secondary roads, the new unit lets drivers select the fastest route, helping them to arrive safely and on time.

The new driver terminal seamlessly integrates information captured in the field enriching existing business applications to enable smarter decision-making, enhanced by the immediacy of real-time data. The terminal can be customised, using open APIs that allows businesses to create bespoke apps tailored to meet particular needs.

Vehicle checks, proof of delivery, paperless reporting, question paths and barcode scanning can be integrated into Webfleet workflow, making life on the road easier, improving service quality for end customers and enabling better compliance with regulatory requirements.

*TomTom Telematics recently commissioned Pure Profile to conduct a survey amongst 1000 Australian consumers who hold a valid driver’s licence.

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